Glorious drive: The Sahyadri roads

Bombay Nasik Highway

Here we are, on an absolutely gorgeous monsoon morning in our pride of possession the 4x4 Black beast (beauteous tho I admit) armed with Coffee Bean take aways thinking about absolutely nothing, music streaming from the radio adding to the light happy feeling. Wonder what triggers the brain to become obsessed about some certain songs, you can’t stop humming it, or thinking about it, or playing it or singing it.

Just yesterday I got soaked to the skin standing under a tree, watching the rain fall for a while. After my initial bothered state I actually felt very nice. Standing there and observing the world slow down. With so much digging happening in the city I saw some workmen duck into the dug pit, open their classic black umbrellas to protect themselves from the rain water. I stood there under a large peepal tree amused by how different people react to a typical ‘Under A Mumbai Sky’ shower. It felt strangely magical and very unique. And there was music streaming from a nearby chai shop reminding me once again of how closely woven is an Indians relationship with the cinemas

OK back to this highway journey: through the flat plains, the ghats and the mountains. When the monsoon rain lashes the open highways, it has a kind of fresh and fragrant beauty that makes you wish that you had been a poet and not some lowly blogger. In the rains, the roads and the ghats burst into myriad shades of green that can be glimpsed through gray and white clouds that drift through the valley. As the clouds and the mist clear just long enough for you to catch a glimpse of a dense green paradise the wind whips more rain that stings your face, in this case the Black beast’s body.

Bombay, its trains, its traffic choked roads, the muck- all vanishes and you know you are probably as close to heaven as you'll ever get to in this life.

The drive is beautiful. Once you cross Bombay make your way through small towns and villages you start anticipating a treat. The road is bordered by rice fields on either side and then sugarcane ahead, occasionally a brisk brook runs parallel to the road you are driving along, to suddenly vanish and give way to lush green that begs to be captured in the mind. Red tiled traditional homes are visible through the bamboo thickets. It is the kind of drive that prompts you to go easy on the accelerator and drink it all in with your eyes and soul. We switched off the ac, rolled down those windows, and let the sights and the crisp fresh air work their magic on our senses. Till the rains lashed at us again

The wind velocity in the peaceful valleys here is an unforgettable experience. The far stretching mountain view is unique and the treescape outstanding. I read somewhere there is a semicircular spot overlooking the mountains offering a fascinating sight of a coin defying the law of gravity by swirling upward when flung into the air, because of high wind velocity. Puzzling? But true am told.

There's no need to ask for directions to Shirdi. The road from Bombay goes straight into the Ghats. Just at the base of the Ghats is a beautiful inn called Midtown Café- we always stop there to have hot breakfast (idlis /kande pohe). This sets us up for the journey ahead.

After the road takes an upward gradient and the rice fields gradually make way for the hills and ravines on either side, above the treetops you catch the first glimpse of the mountains and the waterfalls. The aerial view of the landscape below gets even more stunning. Before you know it, you are already abreast the first waterfall and the first crowd of revelers soaking up all the water they can. We did a complete 180 degree turn inside the car to capture the scenery but it had swooshed past too quickly. The waterfalls cascade down on the road itself. Many people stop their car to get out, soak for a bit and then make their way to the edge of the road to see the water disappearing down into the deep valley below. The dangerous part is there are some who think this highway is a picnic spot - so they open a couple of beers and then leave the cans / bottles strewn around:(

A gust of wind brings thick rolling clouds into the valley and all around you. For the next 10-15 minutes it is as dark as early evening. Visibility is reduced to a few feet. The wind eventually carries the clouds away till once again we can see the green forests in the valleys and the mountain peaks. In the distance you see a new batch of clouds entering the valley to soon envelop you with more rain. On a good day, the highway plays this kind of a game over and over and you never tire of it.

From an environment perspective these topographies and its jungles, waterfalls, the green carpet on either sides of the highway provide the excitement of adventure. The well preserved forest and plains form our jungle wealth where a variety of birds and animals flourish in peace and security. Experiencing nature in its full glory, appreciating what we have today is a joy, let’s ensure we safe guard it and leave it intact for generations ahead. The great outdoors showed us the wonders of nature to take back memories of awe, magic, purity, even fear as nature is so over whelming when it shrouds you in its mist when you cannot see much beyond. You know then, what fury nature can cause, if havoc is what it intends. Let’s respect what we have. And maintain Harmony.

PS: Today's incessant rains made it urgent for me, to write this post. Am sorry I have no pics, the camera got rained out, and must be given for servicing


Anon said...

Great post Meenakshi!

Ajoy Vakil

Anon said...

New Look :)

Vandana Chouhan

RavneetSingh said...

Hello gorgeous! This is a beautiful post. Envy that drive:) How've you been?

gita said...

Sounds like a typical monsoon in your part of the world. Did you guys get to do the wine tasting, visiting the vineyards at Sula?

ashish said...

O I absolutely know how wonderful it must have been. Beautiful rolling hills as far as the eye can see, but this is no Montana!:) Wish the roads have improved?

Shweta said...

I completely yes this post Mee. This is a very rewarding drive through beautiful villages with hard working, poor but happy farmers that depend on mother nature and their efforts to eke out a tough living from the rolling fields and herds of cattle and buffaloes, places that seem to sometimes just fall off the map, even though we were barely 200 km away, where roads are defined more by the shrubs on the sides rather than the tarmac underneath.

Monsoons and the mist and the easy pace make it indeed very magical. Glad you got this time out. Must catch up soon before you travel to another exotic land again.

Jim said...

The landscape more than makes up for the hurdles along the way. One just needs to sit back and soak it all up. Glad you enjoyed this drive.

Nisha said...

Yes, it has been raining heavily in our part of country. Me too back from rain drenched trip of Aurangabad & Lonar.

Incidently my post also has the word 'glorious'. :)

Mee said...

@Ajoy- hey! thnx for dropping by.

@Vandy- yea but not sure I am going to stay with it for too long

@RS-All good:)

@Gits-yea did tat too:)

@Ash-We too a longer detour to avoid the bad roads- so yea it was cool

@Shweta- poor and rich are relative. Given the abundance of farming prosperity the desire is savings, better techniques in farming, education- incidentally we spent some time chatting with the sugarcane guy where we halted for some tea and instead got tlking about Politics, Sharad Pawar, cricket, the nations health:) This is truly a 'educated' aam admi we are talking about

Yas @Jimmy:)

@Nisha-Will visit right away:) Aurangabad must be beautiful green

Neeraj said...

whao, you took me back to my sahyadris with your writing and vivid description :)

Mee said...

@Neeraj-:) So tell us more about your Sahyadri?:)

Swaram said...

Woww! U make me feel so J!
Sigh! Get that cam serviced soon :) It's like our baby for us travel lovers no :)

Mee said...

@Swaram - o absolutely ! Camera back in action :) So the pictures are not far behind:)

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